De Blasio Offers Affordable Housing to NYC Artists

A few years ago New York icon Patti Smith addressed the new wave of artists by saying, “New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie… New York City has been taken away from you… So my advice is: Find a new city.” The statement was crushing because it was true; being an artist in NY has never been harder since the living cost is so increasingly unattainable. Biggie might’ve thought mo’ money, mo’ problems, but when it comes to living here you need mo’ money to have less problems – flat out.

Thankfully, it seems like somebody has not only heard our pleas but is actually going to take them into consideration. In his second State of the City Address Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a plan to build “1,500 units of affordable live/work housing for the artists and musicians who make New York culture so vibrant….as well as 500 dedicated affordable workspaces for the cultural community…If we fail to be a city for everyone, we risk losing what makes New York New York. We risk losing the very soul of this place."

It’s no secret that New York is regarded as a cusp of the arts, being mecca for thousands of legends including Bob Dylan, Robert Rauschenberg, The Ramones, Woody Allen, Basquiat, The Strokes…the list goes on and on. De Blasio is right – without artists New York ceases to be what it is, and the purity and joy of creation that has been such a part of the city since its inception would be gone. "These folks bring joy to everyday New Yorkers; and inspire young people to pursue their natural talents in professions that often don’t promise a big paycheck," he said.

Although the housing plan only deals with 2,000 units we hope that this signals a start in a renaissance for the New York art world. Give us studios and art shows, concerts and recording spaces, readings and conversation panels. Give us the possibility of art back. Give us places to create. But please don’t give us more expensive waterfront condos.

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